Finishing big outdoor picture frames

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Forum topic by GabeATX posted 03-06-2019 02:49 AM 477 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 1884 days

03-06-2019 02:49 AM

In the next week I need to assemble, sand and apply a transparent or semi-transparent finish to 7 4X6 poster frames that will live outside for a few months. Appreciate your advice on how you would play it.

I need to make some finishing tradeoffs given the timing. Call it 4 days from when the first coat is applied to when it must be ready to be hung.

Some details:

- These will live outside for 3 months of the year
- We’re in Texas, weather is harsh, I expect to apply new finish to them next year. They will get lots of sun/rain.
- Frames are southern yellow pine, mostly pretty wet (or “not dry”)
- For this season I just want them to look good and be “good enough for one season” ... but NOT require stripping the finish off next season.
- I would like either something with an orange tint or be able to add something like Transtint
- Bonus for wiping or foam-brush application

If I had more time I would do something like trans tint + several coats of spar urethane.

If you have ideas on this please let me know.

3 replies so far

View bilyo's profile


1395 posts in 2313 days

#1 posted 03-06-2019 03:21 AM

Based on my experience, a good quality exterior stain will usually hold up well on vertical surfaces. Where they have problems are on horizontal surfaces. So, IMO, apply an exterior opaque or semi-transparent stain. If I understand correctly, some require stripping before re-applying, but there are others that don’t.
Since you are using pine, my first concern would be that the frames are constructed so as not to trap moisture anywhere. Otherwise, they will deteriorate quickly. You might consider using pressure treated pine.

View SMP's profile


4705 posts in 1116 days

#2 posted 03-06-2019 05:47 AM

Yeah the exterior deck/fence stains with UV protection hold up well. But i’d use cedar or redwood. Not much more money but hold much better put in the elements. If they are rustic look could even use flashing on the top ledge.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2993 posts in 1373 days

#3 posted 03-06-2019 12:18 PM

Gabe, do you have access to Cypress lumber ??
a few coats of Epifanes or Pettit Marine Spar varnish will allow
the wood to carry its natural amber color.
but – is pretty time consuming for the first batch.
solution: you could make one quick set with pine in the 4 days you have
allotted for the project and work on the replacement cypress frames
with several coats of Spar at your leisure for the next project.
will last much, much longer than construction grade SYP. (and look better).


-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

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